A few weeks ago in my Pom, Poms, Jars, and Habits post I introduced an incentive program that we do with our kiddos. It has helped us create some more consistent desired behaviors. Today I’m going to dig deeper and explain some more ways we have been teaching our kiddos: by way of expectations.
Why Are Expectations Important?
If no one encouraged you to try something you might not have even accomplished it. What if no one wanted or expected you to do something. Would you have done it on your own? This is why having expectations is important.
If we want our children to be kind, we need to have expectations for it. If we want them to be able to play the piano well. Then we need to expect them to practice and try getting better.
I am sometimes motivated to make a better change in my life. But if someone has an expectation of me to acutally do it, than you better believe I’m going to try harder.
Let’s take that piano example again. I took lessons for many years growing up. I was much better at playing by ear than reading music. When I became so busy in highschool with work, volleyball, school, and life as a teenager I asked if I could quit piano lessons. I did.
Years later when I would sit down to play the piano it was such a struggle because I couldn’t remember the pieces I had memorize. I couldn’t read the music too well. It was so frustrating to try to play.
Last September we started having our kids take piano lessons. I had always said that I wanted to take lessons again when our children started. It took a few months but I decided to also start taking lessons.
Now, I have higher expectations of myself because I am being taught. My teacher has expectations of me to practice and to become better at the things she is teaching me.
Would I sit down as much to play if I wasn’t taking lessons? Heck no!
When we have healthly and age appropriate expectations our children will have a better chance of becoming better in whatever area our expectations are in. It also teaches our children to have expectations of their own.
What Kind of Expectations Should We Teach?
What kind of expectations should we be teaching our children? Well, my friend, that is 100% up to you and your spouse, partner, children, family.
But, for the purpose of this blog post and getting ready for summer I’m going to focus on some behavior and attitude expectations. The point of this post is to help you get your kids and yourself ready to have a great summer. In my mind a great summer is one that is fun. But also organized and has a purpose!
The following behaviors and expectations are what we are going to be focusing on in our house over the next little while:
- kindness to siblings and parents (since we’ll be spending a whole bunch of time together, some can get irritated more easily than others… haha)
- willingness to help (ultimate goal is to get them volunteer to help before we ask)
- just do it to get it done (In regards to their daily list. Some are better then others, some days are better than others. Sometimes there are things that we just need to get done.)
- Solving their own problems (I don’t want to be a referree. Some problems I will need to help them. However, most of them my kiddos should be able to be working through. I understand that this is going to take a lot of work on my part to help them learn how to effectively and consistently solve some of their problems on there own. It has been a work in progress. But work that will be well worth it.)
How To Teach Desired Expectations
In my mind there are really two main ways to teach someone: example and telling/teaching them. I believe what you say is very important. However, what chidlren see is usually what they copy. So, this may be a whole family thing. 🙂 Defentaly will be for some things with us. Haha!
First- Lay out what you want/expect/going to teach them
When you are teaching your children think of how they will learn the best.
- sitting down and talking through things
- teaching with viuals
- acting things out
- reading stories together
- showing a video
- asking questions and letting them research the answers, then present what they learned
- asking questions and letting them think about the asnwers, talking about it afterward
After you know HOW you will teach them think of WHAT you want them to learn. I am very much a list person. So I normally make a list of what I want to teach them.
Once my list is made I will be able to see everything in one place and figure out the order to teach it and what can be taught together. Then you will want to decide how much time you’ll wait between teaching your children all the things on your list.
Second- Being explicit is the magic trick
You need to be explicit in what you expect your children to do. You can not simply say that they are going to start helping around the house more. That is too vauge. You need to figure out what you want them to be doing.
Then when you have it figured out you need to tell them all the steps. And probably need to show them the steps as well.
A few months ago I decided to type up the dinner kitchen jobs and have a list of all the things our kids were expected to do. It wasn’t working to say wipe the table and counters. Or sweep. Or set and clear the table.
The jobs were being half done. Eddy and I felt like we were repeating ourselves wayyyy too many times. We were irritated. So making a pirnted list of our exact expectations was a game changer.
Now our kiddos know that we expect them to wipe the side of the table and not just the top. Our kids know that after they are done sweeping they need to push the chairs back in.
Don’t be affriad to write down or lay out each teeny tiny step. This way there are no surprises for your kids and less frustration for you.
Third- Model, Model, Model
In my example above about printing up our expectations for our kid’s dinner jobs I took many nights of doing the jobs with them. I spent more time helping them, showing them, modeling what I wanted. That time is WELL spent! I promise.
One of the hardest parts is being a good model for the long haul. If I want and expect my children to show kindness and love towards others then you better believe that I need to be doing the exact same thing on a daily basis.
If I can’t do my chores or household duties without complainning, guess what? My children won’t either.
Eddy and I will sit down and talk about what we will be expecting our children to do on a daily basis during the summer. Our expectations need to be realistic. It is summer vacation, so we want them to have fun, be lazy at times, and enjoy the heck out of summer.
With that being said, we will also expect them to clean up after themselves, do some sort of school or reading activities, practice the piano, and do some cleaning.
After we have decided what the new daily lists will look like (more on that next month) I’ll make new charts. We will go over them with the kiddos and lay out our expectations for the daily lists.
I have some ideas of what I would like the kids to do as far as academic activities. Once Eddy and I have finalized that I will get that all organized (the former teacher in me is EXCITED!!!).
We will make a summer bucket list and hang it up in the kitchen. PRO TIP! If you want to accually get all the items done and checked off then schedule them on the calendar ASAP. You can either make a certain day of the week your summer bucket day or plan them on different days for what works best for you.
Either way, put them in the calendar now!
After Eddy and I have talked about how we want our kiddos to solve problems we will teach them. Then do some acting out and talking through.
I hope that you will find some help in this post about expectations and my Pom Poms, Jars, and Habit post. Hopefully with small steps you will be able to set you and your kiddos up for one heck of a summer! Watch for next month’s post all about daily lists. They have been a game changer in our house. 🙂